Friday, February 29, 2008

Vacaville Crime Drops By 13.4 Percent In 2007

Vacaville Crime Drops By 13.4 Percent In 2007
By Audrey Wong | DAILY REPUBLIC | February 28, 2008

VACAVILLE - Thirteen may be a lucky number for Vacaville, which experienced a 13.4 percent decrease in serious crimes in 2007.

This is the second year in a row that the city experienced a drop in crime, said police Chief Richard Word. In 2006, Part I crimes fell 4.2 percent, according to city spokesman Mark Mazzaferro. Part I crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, vehicle theft and arson.

The biggest drops from 2006 to 2007 occurred in robberies (112 to 83), vehicle thefts (331 to 274) and thefts (1,733 to 1,473). Homicides increased by four cases and rapes by three cases last year.

One of the homicides was a 2006 attack in which the victim died in 2007, said Word, who added that four of the homicide suspects are in custody. The chief attributed the increase in rapes to sexual assaults by acquaintances.

Vacaville's efforts to combat crime last year were buoyed by the addition of 10 patrol officers, increasing the total to 46. A second Crime Suppression Team was also added in 2007.

The department has two vacant patrol officer positions it can't fill because of a city hiring freeze. But two officers are undergoing training in the field, and another two are attending the academy.

'In terms of staffing, I still think we're in an upswing,' Word said.

Other reasons for the drop in crime are more parole and probation sweeps, and residents willing to report suspicious activity. Word cited a recent incident in which someone reported a person trying to open car doors. Police later caught a parolee in connection with two automobile burglaries.

'We encourage (the public) to call,' Word said. 'It makes our job so much easier and makes Vacaville safe.'

Although Word is pleased with the statistics, he added that work needs to be done in gangs, drugs and recidivism among juvenile criminals.

'We're still arresting kids 11 to 17 years old about 30 to 40 times,' he said.

Many of those young people are repeat offenders. Police often meet with probation officers and school officials to address the needs of juveniles.

One solution to divert young people from crime is providing good mentors. The city has a Police Activities League and Vacaville Area Boys and Girls Club. The department also has a social worker for young people involved with gangs.

Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or

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